UK government declares Coronavirus a ‘serious and imminent’ threat to public health
The UK has declared coronavirus as a serious and imminent threat to public health.
There have been more than 37,000 cases of the virus globally, mostly in China, where it originated.
In the UK a fourth person has tested positive for coronavirus.
The new case is a known contact of a previous British patient, and caught the virus in France.
In an update this morning, the UK government said there is now a “serious and imminent” threat to public health.
A spokesperson said:
“In light of the recent public health emergency from the novel Coronavirus originating from Wuhan, Secretary of State has made regulations to ensure that the public are protected as far as possible from the transmission of the virus.
In accordance with Regulation 3, the Secretary of State declares that the incidence or transmission of novel Coronavirus constitutes a serious and imminent threat to public health, and the measures outlined in these regulations are considered as an effective means of delaying or preventing further transmission of the virus.
In accordance with Regulation 2, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has designated Arrowe Park Hospital in the Wirral and Kents Hill Park an “isolation” facility and Wuhan and Hubei province as an “infected area.”
The Countess of Chester Hospital put in place a series of measures on Friday as the threat of Coronavirus increases across the UK.
The hospital has allocated a designated Countess Coronavirus Support Centre that is a 24/7 isolation area on site.
It means anyone showing symptoms associated with the virus will get a quick assessment, while other patients receive the appropriate care they need.
A hospital spokesperson said: “Following the recent Coronavirus outbreak in China we are putting in place a series of measures to mitigate any extra burden on our Emergency Departments and ensure the safety of all our patients and staff at the Trust.”
Dr Robin Howe, Incident Director for the Novel Coronavirus outbreak response at Public Health Wales, said:
“Four further patients in England have tested positive for Novel Coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases in the UK to eight. There are currently no confirmed cases in Wales, although it is likely that Wales will see cases at some point.
“We are working closely with the other UK nations, the Welsh Government, the wider NHS in Wales, and others to monitor the Novel Coronavirus outbreak in China, and have implemented our planned response.
“We are well prepared, with robust infection control measures in place to protect the health of the public.
“Members of the public can help protect themselves and others by always carrying tissues, and using them to catch coughs or sneezes. They should bin the tissue, and to kill the germs, wash their hands with soap and water, or use a sanitiser gel. This is the best way to slow the spread of most germs, including Coronavirus.
“The Novel Coronavirus diagnostic test has now been rolled out to laboratories across the UK, including specialist virology laboratory at the University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff.
“Public Health Wales’ trained scientists are now conducting the specialist test in Wales – ensuring we are well prepared should we begin to see an increased number of cases.
“The UK Department for Health and Social Care has issued advice for returning travellers. We would encourage travellers to check the new guidance, especially those returning from China, Thailand, Japan, Republic of Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia or Macau in the last 14 days.
“The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office has advised UK nationals to leave China where possible.
“All Welsh residents that meet the current testing criteria for Novel Coronavirus are being offered testing. However, we are not able to comment on individual cases for reasons of patient confidentiality.
“The UK Department of Health and Social Care is confirming daily the numbers of patients who have tested negative or positive for Coronavirus in the UK. Public Health Wales is not providing a commentary on the numbers of suspected cases, or on the numbers of people being screened, in Wales.”
Coronavirus presents with flu-like symptoms including a fever, a cough, or difficulty breathing. The current evidence is that most cases appear to be mild.
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